College Football Picks: Are Alabama’s CFP Chances Gone?
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
It was an interesting Week 12 in college football, but Iowa’s upset of Minnesota and Oklahoma’s dramatic 25-point comeback victory over previously unbeaten Baylor were overshadowed by an injury. It wasn’t just any injury. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip in the Crimson Tide’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State last week.
Tagovailoa will undergo surgery and will miss the rest of the season. A Heisman Trophy candidate, Tagovailoa’s absence is now the big reason why Alabama’s odds to win a national championship have moved to +1150 (at America’s Bookie). Mac Jones will step in for Tagovailoa, but the Crimson Tide would need a ton of chaos in the College Football Playoff poll to even have a shot.
One such game that will have a huge impact on the CFP takes place this week. Penn State travels to the Horseshoe to take on No. 2 Ohio State. Alabama will be rooting for the Buckeyes. They will also be rooting for SEC rival LSU to win out and for teams like Oklahoma and Oregon to lose again.
After a 6-1-1 posting last week, here’s how the Ole Ball Coach (no, I’m not Steve Spurrier but I have been known to throw my visor) sees Week 13 playing out.
No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 2 Ohio State (OSU -18, O/U: 56.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Look, I’m a homer and I love my hometown Nittany Lions. I’m also a realist. The Buckeyes with QB Justin Fields, RB J.K. Dobbins, and a defense full of studs are simply better. The last two games in the series have been decided by one point. The 18-point spread is a big one, but I don’t trust the Buckeyes or the Nittany Lions. What I do trust is defense and both teams will play it well. UNDER 56.5
No. 6 Oregon vs. Arizona State (OR -14.5, O/U: 54.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Oregon is 9-0 and 6-3 ATS in its last nine games. The Ducks have averaged nearly 40 points a game and given up just 13.4 during their nine-game win streak. Arizona State started the season strong but the Sun Devils have lost four straight and given up 36 points a game in the process. Look for the Ducks to pour it on. Oregon -14.5
TCU vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (OU: -18.5, O/U: 65) Best Line: BetAnySports
The Sooners looked like they were done a week ago. Then, QB Jaylen Hurts powered a 25-point comeback to beat previously unbeaten Baylor. The Sooners now control their destiny in the Big 12. They will need some help to get into the CFP. TCU is 0-4 ATS in their last four games and 0-5 in their last five against Oklahoma. Oklahoma -18.5
No. 19 Texas vs. No. 13 Baylor (TEX: +5.5, O/U: 59) Best Line: My Bookie
Four of Baylor’s last five games have come down to a single possession. Three of Texas’s last four games have been decided by three points or less. This one will be tight and the better defense will win. The Bears have the top defense in the Big 12, but the Longhorns will keep it close. Texas +5.5
No. 22 Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia (OSU: -7, O/U: 60.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Oklahoma State has won the last four in a row over the Mountaineers. WVU upset Kansas State last week, but don’t expect that to carry over. The Cowboys are 8-2 ATS this season and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Oklahoma State -7
SMU vs. No. 23 Navy (NAVY -3, O/U: 68) Best Line: MyBookie
The Midshipmen (7-2) have beaten SMU the five times the Mustangs have traveled to Annapolis. In Navy’s last six home games when favored by four points or less, the Middies are 4-1-1 ATS and won three of those games by 14 or more. SMU, which has given up 500-plus yards in four of their last five games, will have difficulty defending the triple option. Navy -3
No. 21 Boise State vs. Utah State (BSU: -7.5, O/U: 53) Best Line: America’s Bookie
It’s a battle for first in the Mountain West Mountain Division. The Broncos have won nine of the last ten against the Aggies, including the last three straight. Boise State QB Hank Bachmaier is questionable, but it won’t matter. The Broncos are 7-1 ATS in their last eight against the Aggies on the road. Boise State -7.5
Illinois vs. No. 20 Iowa (IL: -15, O/U: 46.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Illinois hasn’t beaten Iowa since 2008, but the Illini are 4-1 in their last five games. That includes an upset of then-No.6 Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes defense is superb. They give up just 12.4 points per game and they have two shutouts this season. UNDER 46.5
Boston College vs. No. 16 Notre Dame (BC +19, O/U: 64) Best Line: BetOnline
It’s the Jesuits versus the Catholics as Boston College travels to the Golden Dome on Saturday. Touchdown Jesus will watch over the Fighting Irish, 52-20 winners over Navy last week. The Eagles are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. They are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven against Notre Dame. The Irish win, but BC covers. Boston College +19
UCF vs. Tulane (UCF -7, O/U: 70) Best Line: America’s Bookie
The Knights are 6-2 SU and ATS against Tulane in their last eight meetings. There will be plenty of points, but UCF will be too much for the Green Wave. UCF -7
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.